Shar­ing our sor­row

Hun­dreds turn out for vigil hon­or­ing Sandy Hook vic­tims

North Penn Life - - Front Page - By Michael Alan Gold­berg mgold­berg@jour­nalregis­ter.com

Can­dles, bal­loons, hand­made VQowflaNHV, VoQJV aQd morH WKaQ a IHw WHarV fil­lHd 5aLl­road Plaza in Lans­dale on a chilly Sun­day evening as hun­dreds of peo­ple gath­ered for a trib­ute to the vic­tims of the Sandy Hook Ele­men­tary School shoot­ing in New­town, Conn.

The sim­ple-but-mov­ing, halfKour-loQJ YLJLl — orJaQLzHd YLa Face­book last week by Lans­dale rHVLdHQW 5ay LLEHrWo — EHJaQ at 6 p.m. when the as­sem­bled throng, beck­oned by Lib­erto, lit can­dles and bowed their heads aV WKH 5HY. Paul LuWz oI 7rLQLWy Lutheran Church of­fered a brief prayer. As the names of each of the 26 vic­tims were called out, chil­dren in the crowd re­leased green and white bal­loons — rep­re­sent­ing Sandy Hook’s school col­ors — that soared into the clear night sky.

Acous­tic gui­tar in hand, singer Michael Meade of Chal­font then led the crowd in a somber ren­di­tion of “Silent Night,” be­fore launch­ing into a med­ley of more buoy­ant Christ­mas songs to lift spir­its “and send some hol­i­day good­will up to Con­necti­cut when they need it the most,” he said af­ter­ward.

A clearly emo­tional Lib­erto waV JraWL­fiHd WKaW Vo maQy SHoSlH showed up.

“It just be­came huge real quick, there was an out­pour­ing of peo­ple just want­ing to do some­thing,” he said. “Tonight is not about gun con­trol, this is about 6- and 7-year-old kids. You go through his­tory, the Columbines and ev­ery­thing else, you re­mem­ber the guy who did it but you don’t re­mem­ber the peo­ple who died. So this is a part of remembering them.”

Mike Moore, 58, of Fort Washington — and a mem­ber of Trin­ity Lutheran Church — said that he came by “to share my sor­row with oth­ers, and for the loved ones that lost their friends in school. It’s not the right way for them to spend Christ­mas.”

Jen­nifer Quelly, a 25-yearold teacher from Towa­mencin, echoed that sen­ti­ment. “I feel for the chil­dren and the fam­i­lies, as well as the teach­ers who pro­tected their chil­dren, be­cause we would do the same for our chil­dren.” Quelly added that gun con­trol is­sues were also on her mind. “I think this is go­ing to go down in his­tory and I think that it’s go­ing to be very hard for this coun­try to ig­nore gun con­trol af­ter this. This is a really big eye-opener, and I think things will change,” said Quelly.

Lans­dale res­i­dent Lind­sey Medlin, 28, who said she has three young chil­dren in the NorWK PHQQ 6FKool DLVWrLFW, Hx­pressed con­cerns about the no­tion of armed guards in schools — a SolLFy WKH NaWLoQal 5LflH As­so­ci­a­tion strongly ad­vo­cated dur­ing a press con­fer­ence last Fri­day.

“I think that would scare my son to walk into his school and see some­body there with a gun,” she said. “He didn’t hear any­thing about the shoot­ing and I haven’t talked to him about it be­cause I don’t want him to think school isn’t a safe place. He loves school and I don’t want to ruin it for him.”

Laura Smith, 46, of Towa­mencin, who was dressed up as an elf — she’s a mem­ber of Knights for Life, a char­ity group Ior­mHd Ey NorWK PHQQ alumQL, and came dressed up at the be­hest of Lib­erto to help cheer up the young­sters in the crowd — said she un­der­stood that gun is­sues are on peo­ple’s minds, “but I don’t think pol­i­tics or pol­icy should be a part of this tonight. This is not about gun con­trol or what ei­ther side of the aisle thinks, it’s about com­mu­nity spirit.

“When you see the eyes of those scared lit­tle chil­dren on TV, it just tears your heart out, and that could be us,” said Smith. “This is our com­mu­nity. I’ve been here my whole life, and this is an op­por­tu­nity for ev­ery­body in town to come to­gether at the hol­i­days and show sup­port for an­other com­mu­nity that’s suf­fer­ing right now.”

At top, above and be­low, mourn­ers gather at Lans­dale’s Rail­road Plaza Sun­day evening for a can­dle­light vigil in me­mory of the vic­tims of the Sandy Hook school shoot­ing.

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